The series of high-level meetings being held during Qatar’s economic roadshow across a number of US cities is a clear display of commitment to enhance co-operation and trade relations between the two countries, an official of the Washington-based US Qatar Business Council said.
The meetings between US and Qatari officials show the depth and strength of the bilateral relationship, according to US Qatar Business Council associate director, Business Engagements, Max McGee.
“They show the private sector that there is a strong commitment between our two countries, meaning an investment in the counterpart is safe and lucrative. It encourages true bilateral business and investment,” McGee told Gulf Times.
On the value of Qatari investments in the US, McGee said the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has pledged to invest a total of $35bn into the US by 2020. In 2017, the QIA committed to investing another $10bn, specifically in infrastructure, he continued.
“So far, over $21bn of that allotment has been invested. This doesn't include private investments like Al Rayyan Tourism Corporation’s investments in hotels throughout the country, or Qatar Airways purchasing over $92bn in American-made aircraft,” McGee said.
Citing data provided by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, McGee said Qatar’s investments are diversified in technology, media, entertainment, and real estate, among others. The total worth of confirmed exports and orders to Qatar is $146bn, which generated 1mn American jobs that depend on doing business with Qatar, the data said.
The MEC data said there are 15,000 American citizens living in Qatar, 5,000 of which are working in high-skilled jobs in the country; $29bn worth of Qatar’s major projects that US companies will compete for will generate up to 100,000 new American jobs. Also, the 2022-FIFA World Cup will create up to $10bn in investment for US companies.
On trade exchange, the MEC said the US is one of the major trade partners of the State of Qatar with a surplus of $4bn in favour of the US; the US is the largest exporter to Qatar with total US exports amounting to $4.88bn in 2017.
Qatari exports to the US in 2017 stood at $1bn to include petrochemical products and derivatives, aluminium and its products, fertiliser, salt, Sulphur, earth, stone, plaster, lime, cement, and organic chemicals.
Conversely, the value of Qatari imports from the US stood at $4.88bn in 2017 to include aircraft and spare parts, machinery and furnaces, automobiles (excluding trams and rails), electronic and electrical equipment, medical and optical equipment, pearls, precious stones and metals, as well as aluminium and its derivatives, mineral fuels, oils and distillates, iron or steel products, prefabricated buildings, furniture, lighting fixtures and signs, plastics and related products and various chemical products, and meat.
Asked about the council’s role in helping increase trade volume between the two countries, McGee said: “For Qataris, the US market is massive. Thus, the council can help identify the right partners, investors, or buyers in the US and establish strong and valuable partnerships for Qatari companies.
“For Americans, the business climate in Qatar can be a bit different than they are used to. The Business Council can help these companies identify the right partners and avenues for trade and investment in Qatar and ease that process. We are here to support both the sides in increasing trade volume. We can also identify sectors of growth and areas in the market that need new products or services.”
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